Unto You I lift up my eyes,
O You who dwell in the heavens. Psalm 123:1
Up I went...into the clouds of His faithfulness. A scared child reaching out to grasp tightly her Father's hand. As I clung to him, I opened the book (God A Good Father by Michael Phillips) I had previously tucked in my purse, and read these words -
Chapter 1: The Instinct To Look Up
"Deep within every mortal heart lies a created hunger for the heavenly mountains of God's presence. All of us, from our infancy, have silently wondered what lies on the slopes above the mist, hidden from view...up where God dwells."
How timely those words were that day. God knew I would be on the airplane, even if I hadn't reminded Him a hundred times. He knew I would be afraid, because I don't like to fly, so He gave me a book to comfort me...to remind me that He was with me, and that He was a good Father.
It was a last minute thought...to take a book (but He knew I would think of it), I pulled a few off the shelf the day before my flight and thumbed through them. One had been there for several years. I confess, it was borrowed, and I should have given it back long ago. I would never promote the habit of borrowing books and not returning them, nor do I think it's right to shift the blame to someone else for me keeping the book, but in this particular case I have to say - it was God!
The reason I know it was Him is because I found His fingerprints all over it. He had been leaving a trail for me to follow that led me straight to it. The touch of His Spirit on my heart during prayer time, and pointing out words of confirmation in scripture, were His ways of sprinkling little snippets of Truth across my path over and over again, leading my thoughts in a certain direction. He was weaving a theme throughout my days - to trust Him and seek a place with Him that goes higher than my fears...to look up!
When I first opened the book I read this introduction, " I would like to invite you on a journey, an inner quest out of the valleys and low places of our spiritual abodes to the high mountains..." As I continued through the introduction, phrases kept jumping out at me like, "gaze upward toward the mountain tops of your faith,...I invite you to join an adventure that will lead to wider vistas and broader outlooks than are possible from the lowlands." Hm, it was sounding a lot like the things God had been teaching me over the weeks leading up to my trip. To leave the lowlands, where I felt comfortable, and seek a higher place with Him, out of my comfort zone.
That is when it hit me - My spiritual life is similar to the way I plan a trip. There are certain things I'm afraid of doing and they prevent me from experiencing the full reality of who God is. Will I take His hand and move forward if it requires an airplane or will I limit my journey with Him to transportation closer to the ground? Is He God, or is He not? If I believe He is, then I must also believe that He holds everything - EVERYTHING, in His mighty hands.
I was finding myself within the metaphors of this book in a very literal way. God was inviting me on an adventure that required me to leave the lowlands of my faith and trust Him. I closed the cover and noticed the clouds on the paper jacket - perfect! I knew without a doubt this was the book I was to take, so I pushed it down in my purse, along with a pack of gum and a granola bar.
After boarding the plane I sat there like a hostage of fear. I wasn't able to sit with my husband due to
booking our flights at the last minute. Instead I was sandwiched in between two ladies who pretended I wasn't there. I'm sure it was part of God's plan (He wanted me all to Himself). As I sat there alone and apparently invisible, His presence became very real to me. We left the ground, and I gripped His hand tighter as we took turns reminding each other of His faithfulness, then I began reading the book.
He taught me that sometimes this journey is going to involve trusting Him with areas of fear and moving (or flying) past them, to get beyond the lowlands to a higher place with Him. The airplane, the book...all tools to remind me who He is - God. There are things He wants to teach me about Himself; that He is Faithful, Loving, and All Powerful. If I had a choice, I would have chosen to learn those lessons without flying through a thunderstorm, but my Father always does things with such flair!
"I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness,
and I will hold your hand;..." Isaiah 42:6